Don't Wish Your Life Away
Updated: Jul 11, 2019
Having goals is a necessary part of life. Without looking forward to something, life becomes stale and boring. Goals give us focus, enthusiasm and the energy we need to create, problem solve and feel a sense of accomplishment.
However, sometimes being too focused on future goals steals our ability to enjoy the present - "If I could only make this much money..." or "If I could only get that job, or that promotion..." It is easy to identify situations in our lives we wish could change or ones we can't wait to finish. The grass always seems greener someplace else.
When we struggle with these thoughts of discontentment on a regular basis, we can literally wish our lives away. When our focus is on longing for something else to come, we do not experience satisfaction. With this way of thinking, once we do reach a desired milestone, we soon become disenchanted with it as well, as we seek perfection in our circumstances that does not exist.
When we are dissatisfied, we begin to compare our lives to those around us and see only positive aspects of their lives. In actuality, there will always be problem areas no matter the current stage of life. And no matter how it appears to us that others have been blessed, there are negative aspects of their lives with which we may not be familiar.
Think back over the accomplishments of your life. Whether it was graduating high school, getting married, buying a home, having children, or getting a new job, there were new responsibilities that came with that blessing which were not anticipated. You can always complain about the loss of freedom, new financial obligations or the new neighbors, but overall, such changes usually enhance life much more than they take away from it.
To truly enjoy life and not wish it away, we must take on an attitude of contentment. Being content in your circumstances means seeing the blessings in your life as it is right now. Having goals is valuable, but there are always things to be grateful for today. Goals should provide a compass for our lives, but they should not be what consume our field of vision at all times. Staring at your compass and never looking up to evaluate where you are will still get you just as lost.
Slow down and don't be in such a hurry to get to the next big thing. Take the time to enjoy what's going on in your life today. Once this stage of your life is over, many of the opportunities you have now will be gone forever. Spend time with your children, date your spouse, visit your parents, volunteer in your community; the future will be here sooner than you expect!
Larry Deavers is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker and Executive Director of Family Counseling Service of West Alabama.